This is my first blog on MSDN - so I am going to take this opportunity to talk about the new Customer Experience Program in Whidbey.
Internally, the Customer Experience Program is known as SQM (Software Quality Metrics). It is basically an infrastructure that we use to log, transfer and report on how customers use Visual Studio. SQM is not proprietary to Visual Studio; in fact, many other product groups are also using SQM: Office, Media Player, MSN Messenger and Money, just to name a few.
Starting with the Beta of Whidbey, we will ask customers to participate in the Customer Experience Program. Participation, of course, is completely voluntary. There is absolutely no disadvantage to participating - it will not degrade performance, and the process is completely transparent to the users. Participating will allow Microsoft to understand how customers use our product and allow us to focus our resources on the things that matter the most to you! Here are some of things that we are trying to answer by using SQM:
Some customers feel very paranoid about participating in this sort of programs. I will have to admit that before I joined Microsoft, I belonged to this camp as well. But after having worked on SQM hands on, I can assure you with 110% confidence that our entire company takes every possible measure to ensure that all information collected is not personally identifiable.
If you have studied statistics, the power is in the numbers. We do not care what a specific customer does - we never know whether that customer is a representative sample. What we want to know is the aggregate of customer usage data, so there is really not much benefit to looking at a single user.
If you can rid yourself of the paranoia, I would strongly encourage you to participate in this program. The more data we get from customers, the more representative the data is, and it will ultimately translate into a better product for you. Just think about how cool it would be to be able to help make Visual Studio better without even completing a form, a survey or anything at all!
When you get Whidbey, remember to participate in this program by going to Help menu and choosing “Customer Feedback Options...“!!
James LauProgram Manager, VS Core